HSE Graduation 2018

HSE Graduation 2018

November 8, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Be seated. Good evening. Before we get started, we’d like everyone
to silence their phones. Nobody wants to hear your ringtone during
graduation. Good evening, I’m Hal Hidden, Chancellor of
Ozark Technical Community College. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2018
High School Equivalency graduation. To all the family and friends here tonight,
thank you for helping us celebrate this important event in the lives of our graduates. We’re also proud to recognize your success
and we’re proud to be here with you today. Joining me onstage is our featured speaker,
Mr. Andy Salmon, who we will introduce more completely in a few minutes. In addition, I’m honored to have several honored
guests tonight. Joining me onstage are two of our members
of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Jon Gentry and Ms. Jennifer Kennally, the chairman of the
board. Let’s give them all a hand. Also, in our audience tonight we have with
us, and please hold your applause to the end, are several administrators of the college;
Marla Moody, Vice-Chancellor for Finance, Mark Miller, College Director of Communications
and Marketing, Tim Baltes, Associate Vice-Chancellor of Human Resources and workforce development,
Rob Rector, Vice-Chancellor for Administrative Services, Dr. Joan Barrett, Vice-Chancellor
for Student Affairs, Mr. David Esping, Chief Technology Officer, and Ms. Stephanie Sumners,
Chief of Staff and Executive of the Foundation. Please join me in recognizing them. Last, but certainly not least, with us tonight
are the instructors and staff of the Adult Education and Literacy Program at OTC. These individuals have been absolutely critical
to the education and success of our students. Please join me in recognizing this group of
amazing educators with a huge round of applause. Before we go any further, I want to congratulate
our graduates tonight. There is no graduation I look forward to more
than this. Seeing you cross the stage tonight and knowing
how much hard work you’ve put in to getting to this point, the circumstances some of you
had to overcome, you’re an inspiration to all of us, so family and friends, let’s give
them their first big round of applause tonight. Again, welcome to this evening’s ceremony
and thank you for coming. At this time it is my pleasure to introduce
the President of our Board of Trustees, Ms. Jennifer Kennally. Good evening. On behalf of the OTC Board of Trustees, I
want to congratulate you on your graduation here tonight. Today you’re taking the next step in your
life toward a better career or continuing your education. the commitment that you have made to achieving
your goal is to be admired, and we are very, very proud of you. I know that many of you have sacrificed and
spent time way from your family and friends, time away from your job and other commitments
in order to reach this goal of attaining your degree. You are an inspiration to everybody in this
room. I’d like to thank the family members that
are here tonight in support of your graduates. I’d like to thank all of the instructors here
tonight for guiding your students along the way. You were all part of making this important
accomplishment a reality. So, thank you graduates, thank you or choosing
OTC, congratulations and best wishes. Good evening, I’m Tracy McGrady, Provost and
Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs. I’m honored tonight to introduce the 2018
High School Equivalency Graduation Speaker, Andy Salmon. Mr. Salmon has had a variety of life experiences
which he will soon share with you. He was born and raised in Northern New Jersey,
but made his way to the Ozarks to attend Drury University, where he obtained his Bachelors
Degree in English. Mr. Salmon later obtained a teaching certificate
from MSU, has worked as a drug and alcohol abuse prevention specialist, worked as a life
skills facilitator at a local half-way house for men, and for the last 21 years has served
OTC as an instructor in the Adult Education and Literacy program. If you think of all of these different jobs,
they all share one common theme, and that is helping others live their best life. Andy is a special person who has had a profound
and positive influence on countless lives. Now I am honored to introduce him to you tonight. Please helming me welcome Mr. Andy Salmon. Welcome everyone. Especially all of you HSE graduates and your
family and friends. I want to acknowledge several others here;
Dr. Hal Hidden, Chancellor of the OTC Campuses, and OTC Board members who are to be congratulated
on the passage of the recent tax propositions that will allow for OTC to expand in it’s
programs that it offers, and build new buildings on different campuses, as well as create a
new campus in Republic. In our immediate area, from Bolivar to Hollister,
from Lebanon to Reeds Springs, OTC has made it possible for others to have this thing
called adult education and literacy, or AEL. And, by the way, the AEL program in the state
of Missouri was recently recognized as the number one adult education program in the
nation for having 65% of it’s students make an academic gain of at least one educational
level. How about that? I also want to acknowledge our AEL Director
and leader, Ramona George. Ramona has supported mightily, and is a big
reason why I have stayed in All these past 21 years. Thank you, Ramona, for offering me the opportunity
to speak tonight in this, my final year as an AEL instructor. I also want to thank my fellow instructors
and staff, many of whom I’ve had the good fortune to work with. Sister Jane, Nancy, my fantastic sub, the
never-ending reader, Kathy. Ginger and Brenda who are out there in the
hallway greeting everyone. And many many others. Finally, to our AEL volunteers who have given
freely of yourselves and so enriched our program. Thank you for everything you do. I currently have four outstanding volunteers
helping me in my day class at Ozark. Volunteers who are here this evening, would
you lease rise for a moment to be recognized. And let’s give them a hand. Would any of you who are volunteers here,
I know you can be gunshy, but please rise to be recognized. These folks really make our program go, and
we can’t thank you enough for what you do. Now Id like to share a bit of my life with
you and tell you about your future, because there is more for you to do. From the time I was 14 until I was 41, I worked
a variety of run-of-the-mill, non-professional jobs, over 20 in all. Mowing yards, Throwing newspapers, those things
we used to read. Picking up rocks on a golf course, warehouse
work and delivery. Driving all kinds of trucks, taxicabs, dump
trucks, trash trucks. I furnished my apartment with stuff that people
threw away. And laying and salting deer and cow hides
up in Montana. That was a job. Later, I returned to college and achieved
a degree in English, and 15 years later at age 42, I obtained my teaching certification,
which allowed me to work as an educator in the drug and alcohol field, and with men getting
out of prison at Alpha House here in Springfield. Why do I mention these jobs I’ve had? Simply to illustrate that you never know how
your experience can add and lead to something very good for you. After my contract ended with working with
men at Alpha House, a kind of miracle happened, and finally all of my past work allowed me
to come into my own, when I landed, and I say landed, as an instructor at Adult Education
and Literacy. It just happened. I didn’t know anyone in AEL, but all my past
experiences, the various jobs, vagabonding around the country, going back to complete
my teaching certification, led me to that moment and this work that I now do with you
graduates. And I say with you because the way I do it
is like this: When you enter my classroom, I am looking to build a relationship with
you. Life is all about relationships. If you don’t eventually trust me, Our class
probably in’t going to work for you, is it? If you don’t trust me, how in the world are
you going to feel safe and comfortable in my class? So, I put a ton of my energy into trying to
make and form a connection with you. Once that happens, good things can occur. But this education thing is a two-way street,
I pour my life into my students, and you usually reciprocate. Give back by working your butts off and pouring
your life right back into me. It is the greatest feeling in the world for
me to have a student want to pass his or her HISET test so badly that they will hound me
for extra work to do. And Tara, I’m thinking of you. And at our class in Ozark, I had a student
who’s here tonight, Amanda, who drove over an hour one-way to come to my class every
single day she could. She didn’t let anything get in her way of
getting this done. And there are many of you who had to juggle
work, your children’s school, along with attending our class. How did you do that? I really stand in awe of you, and I salute
you! All of you. But let me get back to talking about you and
your future. One day, four years ago, while waiting in
the hallway at CoxHealth Emergency, a voice behind me said “Is that you Andy?” I could not mistake that British accent. It was Carolyn, a student of mine from 2007. She had become a full fledged nurse. Just three weeks ago, I ran into one of our
AEL grads at our Ozark Campus. Cynthia is 50-something. Over a year and a half ago both she and her
husband were laid-off from the company that they had worked at for a number of years. Cynthia didn’t have her high school diploma,
but Ken did, so Cynthia came to class. Ken wanted to take classes at OTC but he was
unsure about college. He knew how to set up and wire equipment on
the job like you wouldn’t believe. But for years and years he hadn’t done any
academic work. The reading, writing, the math, like you have
to do in regular classes at OTC. After Ken thought how Cynthia was doing in
our class, he decided to use us to brush up on some basic skills, in guess what? Mainly math and writing. And boy, was he glad that he did. Cynthia passed her HISET exam a little over
a year ago, and then she and Ken began taking classes at OTC. Now, get this; Ken and Cynthia are both set
to complete their degrees at OTC this coming December. And Ken has already been offered a great job
by a real-good company in Ozark with health benefits out the wazoo. These past graduates paved the way for you. They let you know you can go on and do so
much more. Of course some of you may have no intentions
of continuing your education, but having this HSE certificate can open many doors for you
as you pursue the work of your choice. And believe me, more and more employers are
wanting to see this high school equivalency certificate. Those of you who intend to take a shot at
college, and attend OTC, please take advantage of the opportunity to get started by taking
one class for free. You get one three hour class from having had
achieved your HISET certificate, which is worth about $330, as a way to get your foot
in the door of this thing called college. So, graduates, once again, I salute you! You have been persistent and persevered , but
there is more for you to do. I hope you take away at least a couple of
things from your experiences in our classes; One, recognize what your hard work can do
for you, and find something that you love to do, and do it. It may take some time to find it, like it
did me. And two, in whatever you do in the workplace,
home, I hope that you will pour light into others because when you do, you become a flame
that can ignite others to in turn pour their life into even more of us. And this stream of life, of love, will not
end. Finally, please give yourselves a roar, I
really mean this. Let me hear you roar for what you have accomplished. Give yourselves, your family and supporting
friends, your instructors, our volunteers, everyone involved a big hand. Let us hear you roar! Thank you. Ozark Technical Community College has over
one thousand students in our Adult Education and Literacy Program, and this year we have
had over 200 students, I think 217, actually, successfully complete all five parts of the
high school equivalency exam. Those five parts include exams over reading,
writing, mathematics, science and social science. Would the graduating class of 2018 please
stand and make your way to the stage to be recognized and receive your certificates. Abby Pratt Sasha Burch Danielle Kingsly Ambry Schaefer Nicholas Vanderschaff Cruz Escobar Hannah Giffen Branden Giffen Kaitlyn Delayn Sandra Smith Myron Willis Johua Smoot Alexis Wilson Michael Baker Sr. Thadus Finney Valerie Williams Jeremy Sample Mariah Smith Madison Castleberry Erica Price Kaitlyn Zahn Cody Clark Rebecca Skybo Kip Anderson Cody Crawford Angelica Pedrosa Ruth Anne Vint Kaitlyn Legan Savanah Booth Dawn Burt Mariah Hollingshead Paris Germillo Angie Hunter Taryn Compton Hannah Fergueson Melody Bevin Jacob Shue Keith Adams Delana Paxton Rebecca Evlyn Elizabeth Narris Tiffany Harrell Michael Issue Megan Manscur Mary Blackburn Jeanette Mullins Ramada Todd Brianna York Miranda Choates Jordan Johnson Justice Lore Brianna Shanahan Jordon Martin Nathan Hughes Teddy Wallace Robin Love Aaron Tackett Rachel Phillips Jewel Miller Joshua Miller Mary Badorf Taylor Wyecuff Cage Holloway Shanoa Keithly Marybeth Jordan Frank Postin Jr. Joshua Jackson John Newsome Terry Gibbons Raisa Censorn Jason Wells Ford Matthew Williams Piper Bailey Nicole Woodward Ethan Pratt Jacob Dukes Ash Vandyken Congratulations graduates. We want you all to take time tonight to celebrate
this dramatic achievement in your life, but tomorrow I want to encourage you to start
making plans for your education. As mentioned before by our speaker, we want
tot start you on your path to higher education, so each of you have a three credit hour college
credit course. As mentioned earlier, that’s a $300 investment
in you, that our Board of Trustees and the college has said, we want you to go to college,
we want you to start, and one thing I know about people from the Ozarks, when you’ve
earned something, you need to use it. So I’m encouraging you to use your three hours
of free credit, you’ll never regret it. And I hope to see you this summer in class
and if not this summer, this fall at one of our campuses. Graduates, please stand and move your tassel
if you haven’t already, from right to left, to signify this great accomplishment and beginning
a new chapter in your life. Ladies and gentlemen, because the recessional
is an important part of the ceremony honoring our graduates, I ask the audience to please
remain in place until all of the graduates have exited the theater. Thank you for coming, and now please stand
to honor our graduates.